re- Breakthrough? study finds dopamine cannot be source of pleasure in brain

Dr. Alan Wheatley rawheatley at canadalane.demon.co.uk
Fri Mar 12 13:17:46 EST 1999


In posting 7045 (5 Mar 1999),  rcb5 at MSN.COM ("Ron Blue")  writes: 

>Breakthrough? study finds dopamine cannot be source of pleasure in brain
>
>http://www.unc.edu/news/newsserv/research/wightman.htm

Well, yes, the web page to which Ron has drawn our attention does indeed
use the word "breakthrough", but it is a news item, full of the sort of
hype beloved of journalists.  The scientists themselves are some what more
diffident:

"Although previous work has established that dopamine neurotransmission is
a component of brain reward, our results are consistent with evidence that
the dopaminergic component is not associated with the hedonistic or
'pleasure' aspects of reward."  Garris P. A. et al., Nature, 398, 67
(i.e., issue of 4 March 1999).

Ought we not to follow the diffidence rather than the hype and constrain
our assertions about the role of dopamine?  Some of us have almost gone so
far as setting up a religious system around the substance, in that it
seems to be have been equated with the meaning of life ;-)  The
construction of hypotheses is, of course, an essential part of science,
but is only useful if the hypotheses are testable by experiment.

Dr. Alan Wheatley at http://www.canadalane.demon.co.uk



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